Favored This Ones for Phil was awarded victory in the $150,000 Swale Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) when Big Drama was disqualified for interference in the stretch after posting a track record for seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park March 28.
On a windy day in South Florida, Big Drama was set down for drifting out in the lane under left-handed urging from jockey Eibar Coa and bumping This Ones for Phil as they approached the finish line in the test for 3-year-olds. Jockey Garrett Gomez, aboard This Ones for Phil, told stewards Big Drama also bumped his horse inside the eighth pole, though not as severely.
The stewards' decision wiped out Big Drama's apparent half-length win. It also ended a five-race winning streak for Big Drama, a son of Montbrook who was making his 3-year-old seasonal debut after fracturing a leg bone in a stall accident in January and undergoing surgery. The race's clocking of 1:20.88 took a fifth of a second off the track mark.
"The horse ran a beautiful race," Gomez said. "(Big Drama) clearly bumped me. All you have to do is watch the tape. In fact, he bumped me twice. He did it at the eighth pole and again about 50 yards before the wire.”
This Ones for Phil was the slight 8-5 choice over Big Drama, who was sent off at 9-5. Both carried top weight of 120 pounds.
This Ones for Phil, ridden for the first time by Gomez, picked up his initial graded stakes win for trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. and owners Paul Pompa Jr., Jack Mandato and Michael Dubb. The gelded son of Untuttable was coming off a fifth-place finish after setting the pace in Gulfstream's Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) one month ago.
Dutrow was at Keeneland and missed the race.
Big Drama, breaking from the far outside in the field of six, was prominent from the start while pressing pacesetter Custom for Carlos through an opening quarter-mile ran in :23.01. Big Drama had the lead through a :45.17 half-mile as Custom for Carlos, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, dropped back going into the far turn.
Big Drama, who opened a one-length advantage on the turn, was joined by This Ones for Phil, who had angled off the rail for Gomez and reached equal terms in upper stretch. Big Drama, responding to Coa's urging, fought back along the inside mid-stretch to get a narrow edge and held it to the wire before being disqualified.
This Ones for Phil, who won the Sunshine Millions Dash prior to the Fountain of Youth, collected his fourth win in 11 lifetime starts. The $90,000 he was awarded for the win pushed the chestnut's career earnings to $325,340.
Gilbert G. Campbell bred the winner in Florida. This Ones for Phil is out of Heaven's Gate, by Septieme Ciel.
This Ones for Phil paid $5.20, $3, and $2.40. Big Drama, winner of the Delta Downs Jackpot (gr. III) Dec. 5 for trainer David Fawkes, returned $3 and $2.20. The $2 exacta was worth $15. Custom for Carlos, who was coming off a maiden win over Nicanor in his last start, paid $2.80 to show.
“What I saw was a new track record and I got taken down," Fawkes said. "Should he have stayed up? I don’t know. I have to watch it again.”